The Bulls suffered a double injury blow in their 20-25 Super Rugby Round Eight loss to the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday.
Two Springbok stalwarts, loose forwards Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter, both suffered tour-ending injuries in a game that saw the Bulls outscore the home team by two tries to one, but still end up on the losing side.
Both players were forced to leave the field during the match – with Stegmann having injured his groin and Potgieter his bicep.
Team doctor Org Strauss confirmed that both players would be returning to South Africa on Sunday.
Wimpie van der Walt, signed on a short-term loan deal from his Japanese club, will be flown over to New Zealand to replace the injured Stegmann.
There will also be a reshuffle amongst the forwards.
Grant Hattingh will move to loose forward as replacement for Potgieter and Victor Matfield – who was to have been in the management structure on tour – will now return to the playing field and replace Hattingh as lock cover.
Meanwhile, Bulls skipper Flip van der Merwe bemoaned his team’s errors in the defeat in their first match on tour.
“Well done to Conrad [Smith] and the [Hurricanes] boys,” Van der Merwe said in his post-match reaction.
“They really put us under pressure and played us really well.
“We lost a couple of guys early on and made a couple of huge mistakes in our area and that cost us at the end of the night.”
The Bulls next play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday, April 11 – before moving across the Tasman Sea to Australia to tackle the Waratahs (Saturday, April 19) and the Western Force (Saturday, April 26